LEARNERS WITH english as an additional language (EAL)
A Warm Welcome
At Swan Lane First School we are proud to welcome families from a wealth of different cultures and backgrounds, and we greatly value the rich diversity of our school community. We have pupils whose families come from all around the world, for many of whom English is not a first or even second language.
“Pupils who join the school from countries other than the UK are welcomed with open arms.”
~ Ofsted, January 2020
Our learners with English as an Additional Language (EAL) can be divided into two broad groups: those who are new to English and just beginning to learn the language, and those who are advanced learners. Advanced learners of EAL are pupils who have had considerable exposure to English and are no longer in the early stages of acquiring the language.
During their time at Swan Lane, our EAL pupils are closely monitored for their progress in both the curriculum and their acquisition of English. It is important to draw a distinction between pupils who are learning English as an Additional Language, and those with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities: the SEN Code of Practice (DfES, 2001) makes this clear by stating:
“Children must not be regarded as having a learning difficulty solely because the language or form of language of their home is different from the language in which they will be taught.”
At Swan Lane, we use a specially tailored assessment process to track each pupil’s individual progress. Where a child is new to English, we also gather information about their linguistic background, previous schooling, parents’ abilities to speak English etc., and an initial assessment is made about the child’s stage of English acquisition. This information subsequently informs the EAL support that we put in place for each child. Whatever their level of English, it is vital to remember that EAL learners are just as able as any other pupils; they just haven’t acquired fluency in English yet.
We provide support in each class for our EAL pupils at the level they can access. This includes using visuals, translated materials and intervention support to boost vocabulary and communication as required. Intervention support may be provided by the class teacher or TA, or by Mrs O’Brien, who is our pastoral support specialist.